If you’re interested in doing everything in your power to ensure your children excel to the best of their academic abilities, research suggests a new and effective strategy for parents and kids to try out. While that doesn’t sound like the most exciting news for kids, there’s good news: all they have to do is catch a few extra z’s!
According to a study by researchers at McGill University and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in partnership with the Riverside School Board in Montreal, elementary and grade school-aged children who tweaked the amount of time they slept–roughly 18 additional minutes per night–yielded higher grades at school.
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The research team studied 74 different students between the ages of 7 and 11 for a total of six weeks. For each age group and grade, an age-appropriate curriculum was implemented to educate students on the importance of proper sleeping habits. For example, the youngest studied group, consisting of 1st and 2nd graders, were shown a cartoon that properly and effectively instilled the value of a good night’s rest.
Over the course of the six-week study, parents attached an “actiwatch” to their child’s wrist before bedtime. They were also asked to keep track of the child’s most recent report cards in order to indicate any noticeable improvements. Parents were also required to keep a sleep log, which tracked the time at which their children slept and woke up.
The students were asked to participate in six interactive classes, lasting two hours per session, over the course of the study. What the researchers found were noticeable improvements in the groups of children who slept longer at night. McGill professor and lead researcher Reut Gruber claims, “We found that cumulative average extension of five nights × 18.2 min = 91 min in total had a significant impact on report card grades.”
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It may sound simple, but getting your young children to sleep an additional 18 minutes a night can help improve their academics! It’s easy to implement, yields positive results that science can verify, and kids will have a good excuse to sleep a little bit longer!
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